10 Interesting facts about the Indus Valley Civilization

Indus Valley Civilization was one of the civilizations established during the Bronze Age around 3300 BCE. It lasted for about 1600 years and collapsed mysteriously.

During the period of its existence, Indus Valley Civilization managed to give birth to numerous incidents that remain interesting to date. Out of all events, there are a few which are of interest to the people living now and then.

One of them would be the occupancy of the largest area which spread from modern Pakistan to a few parts of Afghanistan and also to major parts of India.

Apart from this, the fact about the masterpiece architecture, town planning, uniformity in measuring weights, systematize drainage system are some of the most exciting aspects of this civilization.

There are numerous other interesting facts about Indus Valley Civilization, out of which 10 most significant facts are listed below with some details.

10. Cities with masterpiece engineering

The collapse of the Indus Valley Civilization

The town planning of the Indus Valley Civilization was sophisticated with the touch of flourishing urban architecture. Numerous cities, including Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro, had an efficient level of architectural planning.

The way the houses were built had no comparison in the ancient world. With the stairs leading to a flat roof for people to work and relax, the design took the next level on account of comfort.

Apart from this, walls of houses were connected with others forming a barrier to noise and dust pollution.

Besides the masterpiece in houses, the sanitation system was also commendable. The private wells and sanitation system had hydraulic engineering. Also, the roads and streets were made in an orderly format with uniformity in size.

9. Evolution of one of the most famous Structure – The Great Bath

Creation of the Great Bath

One of the oldest and most famous baths in history, the Great Bath is the structure designed in the Indus Valley Civilization. It is also known as the public water tank in history.

The Great Bath is considerably the most skilled work holding high religious and social values now and then. It is structured in a stepwell format with stairs leading down towards the well.

It is located at Mohenjo-Daro, Pakistan holding the dimension of 11.88m X 7.01m and total depth of about 2.43m.

The bricks used to build the bath are of uniform size and shape with gypsum plastered edges making them waterproof and last longing

8. Pioneering of several techniques in handicrafts and metallurgy

Pioneering of several techniques in handicrafts and metallurgy

Metallurgy and handicrafts fall under the most significant techniques mastered by the Indus Valley Civilization. 

Various kinds of metals such as gold, silver, and copper were used by the designers to design pieces of jewellery made of metal. Besides these, tin, lead, antimony, and arsenic were minor metals used for the work of alloying.

Out of all creations, the statuette of a girl made up of bronze is considered to be the most known craftwork of this civilization.

The statue is named as the Dancing Girl of Mohenjo-Daro which is in a standing position with her left arm concealed with bangles.

Apart from this, the valley also made a name for various handicraft works including seal carving, pottery, and stamps making.

Out of all the handicrafts, the seal numbered 420 became the most famous one for depicting the image of Pashupati ( Lord Shiva ) as he is worshipped by almost all the people of this civilization.

7. Use of Lothal city as a port for business and communication

A-large-well-and-bathing-platforms-at-Harappa

Lothal was one of the most famous southernmost cities of Indus Valley Civilization for being the port for business and communication.

It was located in the Bhal region of Gujarat and had a connection of all-weather roads to various cities of India. Besides being a perfect location for transport, it was also an excellent platform for eastern bricks.

Along with the trading of bricks, the Lothal city is also considered the perfect location as a dock. It was the best tidal dock for sea-faring ships.

In addition to this, the city worked as the mediator for trade between many civilizations of that period.

It was so as the city was connected with various cities through the Sabarmati river and also was the earliest known docks. It also joined the Harappan city with the peninsula of Saurashtra.

With the connection and availability of the perfect location and desirable bricks, Lothal was the vital trad centre during ancient times.

6. Earliest discoveries confused the city to be children’s city

Formation of Religious Practices in the Indus Valley

The earliest discovery of the Indus Valley Civilization was done since 1921 at Harappan, Punjab region and went on to Mohenjo-Daro in 1922. The discovery was near the Indus River in the Sindh region.

During the excavation of the valley, various ruins were discovered which included different kinds of metals, seals, stamps, pottery, and script. However, the discovery of the ruins belonging to the younger aged group outnumbered other ruins.

The discovery included numerous toys and kids friendly pieces of stuff, which led the archaeologists and researchers into a confusion. As a result, they came to the assumption that the inhabitants of this civilization were mostly children.

5. The evolvement of the drainage system along with numerous other inventions

Origination-of-Stepwell
Drainage system
Source: Wikimedia Common

Indus Valley Civilization is famous for the earliest establishment of a drainage system and all other required systems for sanitation.

Houses from the smallest to the most sophisticated dwellings had direct access to the drainage system. Also, the streets had a perfectly organized drainage system which was connected to intricate underground drainage.

All of the outflow lines had a lid to cover made out of terracotta with the attachment of chambers to make it easier to open the lid. The engineering concept of the drainage system and the chamber was a significant invention of ancient times.

Besides the invention of sanitization methods, the valley also had numerous other inventions such as uniform weights, ruler, button, metals, pottery, seals, and Indus Script.

4. The development of the oldest script which remains undeciphered till date

Indus Script being written on a stone

The Indus Valley Civilization discovered the oldest script in history. It is famously known as the Indus Script or the Harappan Script and belongs to the Munda family. 

The script was first discovered between the years 3500 and 1900 BCE and contained about 400 signs ( 31 used regularly ). The signs and symbols were mostly found written on most exotic places such as on seals, pottery, and stamps rather than just a paper.

Despite being the earliest script discovered, the writing is taken as the mysterious language which remains undeciphered to date. The primary reason behind the decoding is the unavailability of the underlying literature and bilingual inscriptions.

The script is being studied by Asko Parpola for over 40 years in Finland at the University of Helsinki. He is considered as one of the world’s experts in the field of deciphering.

3. One of the largest civilization on account of population

Harappa and Mohenjo - Daro

The total number of cities discovered in the Indus Valley Civilization was about 1056 out of which 96 of them have been excavated. 

The total population of these cities reached over 5 million when the civilization was in its highest stage. Despite the massive community, the streets and markets of this civilization had no problem with chaos. It is so due to the perfect town planning.

Amongst the 5 million, the higher portion lived in the villages whereas the lesser lived in cities. The main occupation of the people was agriculture, trading, and craftwork.

The population is believed to have crossed the count of 5 million during the fluorescence of civilization. Otherwise, the number reached up to 5 million most of the time.

2. Indus Valley had one of the most precise ancient rulers

Evolution of the Iron Age in India

The Indus Valley Civilization is famous for its inventions and discoveries such as stepwell, button, measuring weights, and rulers.

The oldest and the most precise ancient ruler was developed in the Indus Valley Civilization. It was first known as the measuring rod and was made out of a copper-alloy bar. 

The initial measurement of this ruler was done in a perfectly divisible format, where the whole of the ruler was divided into uniform units corresponding to 3.55mm and marked in an accurate decimal subdivision within 0.005 inches.

Besides the uniform measurement, the fact of calibration of the smallest division on a scale (1.704mm) during the Bronze Age makes it the most precise rulers of ancient times.

Apart from this, the ruler followed a binary decimal system which went as 1,2,4,8,16,32, up until 12,800 units. The weight of every group was around 0.85 grams.

1. Declination of Indus Valley Civilization

Migration of the Aryans

Shortly after the declination of the significant cities, Harappan and Mohenjo-Daro the  Indus Valley Civilization also declined. It was during 1500 BCE.

There still is confusion and mixture of the reason behind the declination of the oldest civilization. Some researchers believe the reason to be natural disasters like flood and earthquake, whereas some consider it to be the massive migration of the Aryans.

However, the most reliable reason behind it is believed to be the change in climate that brought the Saraswati River to dry during the early 1900 BCE. 

After the collapse of civilization, numerous ruins were discovered during its excavation. Out of which, many ruins created history and helped to create a memoir about the existence of the oldest civilization.

Conclusion:

Since the time of its discovery, Indus Valley went through numerous exciting incidents and moments that are hard to miss.

Most of these incidents are of everybody’s interest and a very worthy subject for research.

The facts mentioned above are the most significant ones which lead the civilization to reach the next level on account of the circumstances.

With every single discovery made from this civilization, a new fact comes out which never fails to interest people.

Likewise, the mystery behind its script and actual existence is also considered as the significant point which grabs everybody’s attention.

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Cite this article as: Richard Marrison, "10 Interesting facts about the Indus Valley Civilization," in HistoryTen, October 22, 2020, https://historyten.com/indus-valley/indus-valley-civilization-facts/.
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